Thursday, November 19, 2020

What's New in Google - November 2020

Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from November 2020, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our November 2020 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and G Suite updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the November 2020 meeting:

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Google Meet Q&A Feature

The Q&A feature in Google Meet is a great way for your attendees to be able to submit questions and vote on which questions are most important to them. It also allows you an easy way to keep track of the questions, see what is most popular, and then check off the questions as you work through them in your session.

Note: The official Q&A feature is only available for people who are using the Enterprise version of the Google suite of tools. If your school does not pay for the Google tools, but instead uses the free version, you will not have the Q&A tool, as well as other Enterprise features. I do have a separate video where I cover alternate ways to do Q&A in Meet if you are using the free version which you can see here: 3 Q&A Alternatives for Google Meet

However, for those who have the Enterprise version of Google Meet, I have put together a short 6-minute video on how to use the official Q&A feature. See below for the video.

3 Google Meet Q&A Alternatives

Google Meet has an awesome built-in feature for Q&A, but unfortunately that is only available for people who are using the Enterprise version of G Suite, which means schools that pay for the Google tools. If your school uses the Enterprise version, then be sure to check out my other post and video that explains how to use the official Q&A feature here: Google Meet Q&A Feature

However, if your school uses the free version of the Google tools, then the Q&A feature will not be available for you. So to help with this, I put together a quick 8-minute video to explain a workaround that will let you sort of do your own Q&A in Meet. Since these are just workarounds, they are not perfect, and are not the only way this could be done, but they are good options. These are just my suggestions for alternative ways to do Q&A in Meet, but please feel free to share your workarounds in the comments.

See below for the video and related resource links.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Google Meet Breakout Rooms

Breakout Rooms are an awesome feature of Google Meet that allow you to take all of your meeting participants and split them up into smaller Meets where they can work on group projects, have small group discussions, and such.

Note: The official Breakout Rooms feature is only available for people who are using the Enterprise version of the Google suite of tools. If your school does not pay for the Google tools, but instead uses the free version, you will not have the breakout rooms tool, as well as other Enterprise features. I do have a separate video where I cover an alternate way to do breakout rooms in Meet if you are using the free version which you can see here: Breakout Room Alternatives for Google Meet

However, for those who have the Enterprise version of Google Meet, I have put together a short 5-minute video on how to use the official Breakout Rooms feature. See below for the video.

Breakout Room Alternatives for Google Meet

Google Meet has an awesome built-in feature for Breakout Rooms, but unfortunately that is only available for people who are using the Enterprise version of G Suite, which means schools that pay for the Google tools. If your school uses the Enterprise version, then be sure to check out my other post and video that explains how to use the official Breakout Rooms feature here: Google Meet Breakout Rooms

However, if your school uses the free version of the Google tools, then the Breakout Rooms feature will not be available for you. So to help with this, I put together a quick 7-minute video to explain a workaround that will let you sort of make your own breakout rooms. Since this is just a workaround, it is not perfect, and it is not the only way this could be done, but it is a good option. This is just my suggestion for an alternative way to do Breakout Rooms, but please feel free to share your workarounds in the comments.

See below for the video and related resource links.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Using Rubrics in Google Classroom

Rubrics are a popular and helpful tool for assessment. You are probably already familiar with what a rubric is, but if not… A rubric is an evaluation tool that uses several criteria, rather than just one score, to assess a student’s skills or performance on a continuum of how well they have mastered those skills.

A rubric can be very helpful for you and your students:
  • It lets students know what is expected and provides detailed assessment feedback.
  • It also helps guide your instruction and encourages consistency when grading.

There are many tools for creating and using rubrics, but thankfully this feature is also built right into Google Classroom. To help out I have put together a short 7-minute video on using rubrics in Google Classroom including:
  • Creating a rubric from scratch
  • Reusing a rubric from another class or assignment
  • Importing a rubric from a Google Sheets template
  • Attaching a rubric to an assignment
  • Grading an assignment with the rubric

See below for the video with all the detailed steps, as well as a link to the Google Sheet rubric template.

Friday, September 25, 2020

What's New in Google - September 2020

Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from September 2020, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our September 2020 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda with all the awesome resources and G Suite updates from the last few months. This includes lots of new Google updates and Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the September 2020 meeting:

Friday, May 29, 2020

What's New in Google - May 2020


Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from May 2020, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our May 2020 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda and all the awesome resources and G Suite updates from the last month. This includes 23 new Google updates and 24 Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the May 2020 meeting:

Friday, May 8, 2020

You can take it with you! Transfer your Gmail and Drive with Google Takeout for Schools

Change is a part of life:
  • Maybe you are a high school senior or a college student and you are graduating.
  • Or perhaps you are a student who is moving to a new school.
  • You might be a teacher who is taking a job at a new school district.
  • Or maybe you are an educator who is retiring after many years of service.

In each situation it is very possible you may have a Google account. G Suite may be used at your high school, your college, and any one of your jobs.

So what happens to your Google account when you graduate high school, graduate college, move from one job to another, and eventually retire? You will have built up years of emails, documents, slideshows, and much more. Is there an easy way to take all those files and all that data with you? What would be great would be a simple tool to copy all of your files to a different Google account (such as your personal Gmail account).

Well thankfully we have that with Google Takeout for Schools. This is a very simple and free tool that will copy the emails and Drive files from your school account over to either a personal Gmail account or another G Suite for Education account. See below for a video demonstrating all the steps, as well as written direction on the process.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Remote Learning & Pear Deck Webinar

I recently had the privilege to provide a webinar for Pear Deck on how to use their tool for remote teaching and learning.

For those not familiar, Pear Deck is an awesome add-on for Google Slides that allows you to add interactive elements to your slideshows.When you run the slideshow through the Pear Deck add-on the students can join the presentation with a code and follow along slide by slide. As they do, the students can respond to interactive questions including multiple choice, text response, numeric response, drawing, and drag and drop. And all of these responses are collected for you as the teacher.

In the 1-hour webinar on "Remote Learning and Pear Deck" I went over the fundamentals of Pear Deck for asynchronous learning, showed how to create a Pear Deck activity in Google Slides, shared best practices, highlighted some favorite features, and answered lots of questions.

If you would like to watch the recorded video, you can access it below. In addition you can find all of my other Pear Deck blog posts, videos, and resources on this site at:
www.controlaltachieve.com/peardeck

See below for the video...

Monday, May 4, 2020

Adding Audio to Pear Deck Google Slides Activities

Pear Deck is an awesome add-on for Google Slides that allows you to add interactive elements to your slideshows.When you run the slideshow through the Pear Deck add-on the students can join the presentation with a code and follow along slide by slide. As they do, the students can respond to interactive questions including multiple choice, text response, numeric response, drawing, and drag and drop. And all of these responses are collected for you as the teacher.

Recently Pear Deck got even better with a new feature that allows you to add recorded or uploaded audio to the activity! This is especially helpful if you are running the Pear Deck activity as a student paced lesson, so the students can hear you speaking to give instructions, read content aloud, provide a personal connection, and more.

To help explain this I have recorded a short 7-minute video that covers all the steps. See below to access that.

If you would like to learn more, I recorded a free 1-hour webinar on "Remote Learning & Pear Deck" where I went over the fundamentals of Pear Deck for asynchronous learning, shared best practices, highlighted favorite features, and answered lots of questions. You can see the recorded video at:
www.controlaltachieve.com/2020/05/peardeck-webinar.html

Sunday, May 3, 2020

What's New in Google - April 2020

Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from April 2020, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our April 2020 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda and all the awesome resources and G Suite updates from the summer months. This includes 16 new Google updates and 32 Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the April 2020 meeting:

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Annotate PDF's Together in Google Meet with Kami

When in a Google Meet video conference with a student, a colleague, or any other participant, sometimes you may need to work on a PDF together.

For example, I have heard from teachers wanting to do tele-therapy sessions with a student where the child needs to practice tracing letters or shapes on exiting PDF worksheets.

There are many tools for annotating a PDF, but what would be great would be something that is free, easy to use, and allows for real time collaboration between people. Well thankfully there is an excellent option with Kami.

Kami is a website for PDF annotation found at kamiapp.com. It is a great match for this need for many reasons:

  • It can be used on its own or right along side of Google Meet.
  • You can sign in with your existing Google account.
  • You can upload any PDF you would like to work on.
  • You can then send a link to a student, colleague, or other collaborator.
  • That person can access the PDF with just the link you sent, and without having to sign into anything.
  • You and your participant can then write and draw on the PDF in real time.
  • And it is all free!

To help demonstrate all the details of this process, I have recorded a short 5-minute video, which you can view below.

Friday, May 1, 2020

The "Control Alt Achieve" Book is Here!

I am so excited to announce the release of my book "Control Alt Achieve: Rebooting Your Classroom with Creative Google Projects"! The book is available as of today on Amazon and other online book sellers.

This book is all about creative ways to use the Google tools you already have to engage your students in projects that are fun, practical, and valuable.

  • For example, Google Docs is a great word processor, but it can also be used to create blackout poetry, emoji writing, or Choose Your Own Adventure stories.
  • Yes Google Slides is a presentation tool, but students can also use it to make stop-motion animation, comic strips, and drag-and-drop activities. 
  • We all know Google Sheets is a great spreadsheet tool, but it can also allow students to make online games, pixel art, and random writing prompts.
  • And Google Drawings may be made for creating diagrams, but it is also great for interactive posters, making memes, and educational math manipulatives. 

See below for more details, links, and a short video...

Friday, April 17, 2020

Give Remote Control in Google Meet with One Click!

Google Meet provides a lot of ways to interact with others in your meeting. You can see other people, and speak with them, and text chat with them, and present your screen to them. However, sometimes we need more interaction than that.

For example it would be great to be able to give remote control of your computer and mouse to another person in the meeting, or to take control of someone else's computer. This could be useful if you wanted your student to do an activity on your computer in a teletherapy session, or if you need to give or receive technology support.

Unfortunately Google Meet does not have a built-in option to give remote control over to another person. Thankfully Google has provided an incredibly simple tool that can be used right along with Google Meet to accomplish this. That tool is called Chrome Remote Desktop.

To help with this I have recorded a quick 11-minute video that explains this in detail by covering three topics:

  • First, how to install the Chrome Remote Desktop extension.
  • Second, the normal method for using this tool to give remote control of your computer and mouse to someone else
  • And third, a secret trick for a super easy and fast method to use this tool that will let even the youngest student control your mouse with a single click. That's right, just one click.

See below for the video...

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

3 Ways to See Your Students when Presenting in Google Meet

One of the great features of Google Meet is the ability to share your screen with your students or other meeting participants. This allows you to present a slideshow, navigate a website, work out a math problem, show a video, or provide any sort of instruction.

The problem is, once you share your screen to begin presenting, all you can see is, well... what you are presenting and not your students or audience anymore. This can make it difficult to stay connected to your students, assess their understanding, monitor their engagement, and take questions.

Thankfully there are several options for how you can stay connected with your students while presenting your screen. To demonstrate this I have recorded a short 7-minute video that shows 3 different ways to still see your students when you are presenting your screen in Google Meet.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Google Meet is now integrated in Google Classroom!

In an earlier blog post and video I explained how you can use Nicknames when creating a Google Meet to keep students from joining the Meet before you, or from rejoining the Meet after you have left. (You can see the post and video here.)

That method still works great, especially for those people who do not use Google Classroom at all, or if you are inviting students to a Meet who are not part of your Google Classroom. However for those who use Google Classroom, we now have a new easy option for managing Meets with your students!

In general here's how it works…
  • For each Google Classroom you have, you can now generate a unique Google Meet link for the students in that Classroom. 
  • The link for the Meet can be displayed on the Stream page and the Classwork page of the Classroom so you and your students can access it easily. 
  • You can use the same Meet link over and over again anytime you want to video conference with your students. 
  • However, the students cannot join the Meet without you, so they can't access the Meet before you are there, or rejoin the Meet after it is over and you have left. 

See below for detailed directions on how to use this feature, as well as a short 6-minute video that demonstrates all the steps.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Whiteboard Tools for Google Hangouts Meet

When you are in a video conference like Google Hangouts Meet, a valuable tool to have is a digital interactive whiteboard. You can use this to give instruction, like a math teacher working out a problem, or it can be collaborative where everyone in the meeting is working together to brainstorm or design or complete an interactive activity.

Unfortunately Google Meet does not have a built-in whiteboard tool. However, there are many excellent whiteboard tools that can be used with Google Meet. For example, two great Google tools that can be use as digital whiteboard in Meet are Google's Chrome Canvas and Google Jamboard.

To show how to use these tools, and specifically how to use them inside of a Google Meet for teaching as well as collaborating with students, I recorded a short 8-minute video. See below for the video and related resource links.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

How to Keep Students from Joining or Rejoining a Google Meet without You

Google Hangouts Meet is a great tool for teachers to connect with students in a video conference, for instruction, questions, presentations, and more.

However it is understandable that many schools would prefer not to have students in a school-provided video conference without the teacher present. That is, schools may not want students to be able to join a Meet before the teacher gets there, or be able to rejoin a Meet after the teacher has left. Thankfully Google has provided an option to manage this.

To help with this I have recorded a short 7-minute video explaining how to do manage this. However, be aware there are some settings that your tech administrators need to adjust before this will work. I have made a separate video just for the tech admins which can be found in my other blog post on "How to Keep Students from Starting or Recording a Meet".

Now assuming that your tech folks have adjusted the settings they need to change, see below for the video on how you as a teacher can keep students from joining a Meet before you, or after you have left the meeting.

NOTE: If you use Google Classroom, Google has just rolled out a new integration that lets you create a unique Meet link for each of your classes, which you and your students can easily access in Classroom, but your students can't join the Meet without you being there. I have created a video and blog post with all of those directions here: "Google Meet is now integrated in Google Classroom"

How to Keep Students from Starting or Recording a Meet

Google Hangouts Meet is a great tool for remote teaching and learning, but understandably schools may want to limit how students can use this tool. Certainly there are many other apps that students can use to connect with friends, and that is wonderful for them to do so.

However, when being used through school, it is common for schools to not want students to start their own Meets or record a Meet. Thankfully Google has settings that can manage these concerns.

To help with this, I have recorded a short 5-minute video that explains all the settings in the Admin Console that need adjusted to keep students from starting a Meet or recording a Meet.

Note: This video is for the tech administrators. If you are a teacher, I have a separate video on how you can keep students from joining a Meet without you, or rejoining a Meet after you have left, which you can find in my blog post "How to Keep Students from Joining or Rejoining a Google Meet without You".

See below for this quick help video...

Friday, April 3, 2020

How to Create Self-Grading Quizzes in Google Classroom

Google Forms is a fantastic tools for making self-grading assessment for students. Google Classroom is a wonderful way to assign and collect work from students.

Wouldn't it be great to put these two great tools together?

Well, just like the peanut butter and chocolate in a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, Google Forms and Google Classroom work together perfectly to make it easier than ever to create, distribute, and grade assessments in schools.

When you create a quiz through Classroom, many of the needed settings in Google Forms are automatically taken care of for you, there's no need to worry about copying the correct link for the quiz, and the student grades are easily imported right into your Classroom grade book!

See below for a quick 8-minute video that will show you everything you need to know for creating quizzes in Classroom. Then if you want to dig even deeper, I have also included a 1-hour video from a webinar I did a while back that goes into more advanced options and uses of Forms for assessments.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

What's New in Google - March 2020

Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from March 2020, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our March 2020 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda and all the awesome resources and G Suite updates from the summer months. This includes 24 new Google updates and 48 Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the March 2020 meeting:

Monday, March 30, 2020

See Everyone with the Google Meet Grid View Extension

Google Hangouts Meet is a great video conference tool for connecting people... but what about when there are a lot of people in the meeting?

Normally when you are in a Google Meet video conference, you can only show at most 4 people at a time. You do this by clicking the three dots button in the bottom right corner and choosing "Change Layout", and then selecting the "Tiled" view. But what if you want to see everyone in the Meet?

Thankfully there is a free Chrome extension called "Google Meet Grid View" that allows you to see everyone in the meeting, no matter how many people there are. See below for details on how to install and use this helpful extension, including a short 6-minute video with step-by-step directions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Video Series: How to Use Google Meet

Google Meet is an easy but powerful tool for video conferencing. With Meet you can connect with other people using any device including a PC, Mac, Chromebook, smart phone, or tablet. While in the video conference you can chat, share your screen, turn on closed captioning, and even record the meeting.

Google Meet is a great tool for schools for remote instruction, after-hours help, virtual parent meetings, bringing an expert into class, connecting with other classes around the world, or recording lessons.

To help schools make the most out of Meet, I have put together a series of videos on how to use this tool. My goal for these videos is to keep them as short as possible, and have each one cover just a few topics. This way users can find just the information they need and can watch it quickly.

I plan to continue adding more videos to this series, so please let me know what Google Meet topics or questions you would like me to address in a future video. See below for the current list of my Meet help videos.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Video Series: How to Use Google Classroom

Google Classroom is a powerful tool that allows teachers and students to create assignments, turn in work, grade assignments, share resources, have class discussions, and much more.

Classroom is constantly improving with new features. To help schools make the most out of Classroom, I have put together a series of videos on how to use this tool.

My goal for these videos is to keep them as short as possible, and have each one cover just a single topic. This way users can find just the information they need and can watch it quickly. Also, since Google Classroom gets frequent updates, it will be easier for me to replace a small video when it becomes outdated with a new version.

I plan to continue adding more videos to this series, so please let me know what Google Classroom topics or questions you would like me to address in a future video. See below for the current list of my Classroom help videos.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Screencastify for Remote Teaching

With the COVID-19 situation, many schools around the world are out of session, with students learning from home and educators teaching remotely. There are so many wonderful resources being shared for schools to use during this time.

As much as possible it would be wonderful to maintain as much continuity as we can with our students and their learning. One great way to do this is for teachers to record themselves teaching and share those videos with their students.

There are many excellent tools for making instructional videos, but one good example is Screencastify. This is a free Chrome web extension that records your screen, microphone, and/or webcam, saves the video to your Google Drive, and makes it easy to share the recording with others. I have shared about this tool many times on this blog, but thought it would be helpful to make a video specifically for the COVID-19 situation. Since we are all so overwhelmed at the moment, I made the video as short as I could, just about 12 minutes long, so educators can learn everything they need as quickly as possible.

See below for the video, as well as some additional resources and information about Screencastify. And as always, please feel free to share with others who may benefit!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

My NCTIES 2020 Sessions

I am excited and honored to present at the NCTIES 2020 Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina this March 4th through 6th.

I always look forward to an opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at NCTIES 2020, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

Monday, February 24, 2020

My IDEAcon 2020 Sessions

I am excited and honored to present at the IDEAcon 2020 in Schaumburg, Illinois this February 26th and 27th.

I always look forward to an opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at IDEAcon 2020, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

Monday, February 10, 2020

My OETC 2020 Sessions

I am excited and honored to once again present at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC 2020) in Columbus this February 11th through 13th.

I always look forward to this opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at OETC 2020, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

My 2020 TCEA Sessions

I am excited and honored to be presenting at the 2020 TCEA Convention in Austin, Texas this February 5th through 7th.

I always look forward to an opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at TCEA 2020, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!

Friday, January 31, 2020

What's New in Google - January 2020

Catch up on everything new in G Suite for Education from January 2020, and see great ideas and resources!

Below is the recorded video from our January 2020 Google User Meeting, along with the meeting agenda and all the awesome resources and G Suite updates from the summer months. This includes 37 new Google updates and 15 Google resources for your class.

The monthly meetings are hosted by the Google Educator Group of Ohio, but are open to anyone from any location. The purpose of these meetings is to:
  • Connect Google-using educators
  • Share the latest Google Apps news and features
  • Provide tutorials, demonstrations, and how-to’s
  • Share best practices of how Google Apps is being used within schools
  • Ask questions and get answers
The video from the meeting is recorded and available for later viewing for those who cannot attend or connect live. See below to view the recorded video, agenda, and all the resources from the January 2020 meeting:

Thursday, January 9, 2020

My 2020 FETC Sessions

I am excited and honored to be presenting at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC 2020) in Miami, Florida this January 14th through 17th.

I always look forward to an opportunity to see old friends, make new friends, share some ideas, and learn so many new things from others.

Below is a list of sessions I will be presenting at FETC 2020, along with any associated resources. Please feel free to join me for any of these sessions. I look forward to sharing, learning, and chatting with you!